This Guest Opinion appeared yesterday in the Bucks County Courier Times from Chuck Thompson, who, according to his bio, “has more than 13 years experience as a journalist followed by more than a decade and a half in the public relations and marketing industry. He is currently a partner in C&C Communications, a marketing communications firm based in Levittown.” I like a good rant against Dubya as well as anyone, though I think Thompson is “all over the place” a bit, though it’s good that he recounts the fact that Dubya was as useless as a businessman as he has been as a president.
It is now four years since the attack on the World Trade Center that changed the world forever. The Homeland Security Advisory System code level is yellow, which means it is elevated and right in the middle of the five possible levels.
Security levels. Remember them? They were elevated and lowered almost daily during the final months of the last election to keep people frightened so they would vote for the “strong and steadfast” George w. Bush. It was one of Karl Rove’s finest moments, next to insuring that a referendum over gay marriage was put on the ballot of every state that could have swung the election towards the Democrats.
Since Nov. 2, 2004, the security levels have become a footnote in the Great Republican Spin Machine. Does this mean that, miraculously, we have become safer after Nov. 2 of last year than we were before? With Iraq having been turned through the U.S. invasion into the greatest recruiting ground for al Qaeda terrorists ever, I sincerely doubt it. It certainly isn’t safer for the men and women of America who have been thrown into an illegal war without the proper training or equipment and who are dying daily because of the disgraceful planning and lack of foresight of their military and civilian leaders.
And now our attention is focused on an even greater tragedy than 9/11 – greater, indeed, in that our own government rather than a foreign enemy perpetrated the death and misery following in the wake of Katrina. It is time to get angry. It is time to raise the security level to red – severe – because of the threat to our nation posed by the reign of Dubya. Consider his record:
- The oil business he launched in 1978, Arbusto Energy, was a financial disaster and never turned a profit. He was saved when it got swallowed up in a 1982 merger, engineered by a couple of Bush family friends, with another energy company called Spectrum 7, which named him C.E.O. of the new company.
- Four years later, Spectrum 7 was itself floundering under $3 million in debt. Yet another energy company run by a family friend, Harken Energy, came in and bailed out Bush a second time and gave him a fat wad of stock options and a $120,000 annual salary, but no actual work to do.
- After a number of deals that still bear close scrutiny, Bush sold off $848,560 in Harken stock right before the company imploded and decided that perhaps the oil business wasn’t for him after all. In April 1989, Bush invested $600,000 of borrowed money in the Texas Rangers and started drawing an annual salary of approximately $200,000 with the title of managing general partner. When his partners finally sold the Rangers in June 1998, George’s percentage was worth $14.9 million. Not bad for a $600,000 total investment.
- After his appointment to the office of president by other Bush friends on the Supreme Court, and heading into August 2001, Bush spent less than two-thirds of his days actually working. His 30-day vacation that year was second only to the record 31-day vacation of Richard Nixon, another Republican luminary. The rest, of course, is pretty well known history.
We now have a record deficit, a medical delivery system that is a disgrace, increased poverty, record high oil prices, the loss of respect from the rest of the world, a war without end and now a disaster relief agency that allowed an untold number of citizens to die in the wake of Katrina because of the good ol’ boys friends of George ran it like he conducted his businesses in Texas.
Now that we must finally realize that the real risk in the U.S. isn’t as much from possible terrorist attacks as it is from the actual destruction being perpetrated by a bumbling administration, shored up by a spineless Republican Congress. It may be time for a national discussion about enacting legislation allowing for a recall on the federal level. The discussion alone may be cathartic and spur the equally spineless Democrats into standing up for principles rather than looking for ways to keep their jobs.